By Kenzie Bryant. Photos: Getty Images.
Kendall Jenner had a very bad, no good month of promotional missteps. The Fyre Festival and Pepsi commercial are the two biggest Twitter controversies bookending April (exempting anything that happened in or around the White House, at least) and Jenner is at the nexus of both. For Pepsi, she starred in the mess of an ad that was pulled on April 5; she didn’t have nearly as significant a role in the Fyre Festival fiasco, but in January announced via Instagram that members from her brother-in-law Kanye West’s G.O.O.D. Music label would headline. The whole event was shut down in the wake of a disastrous opening day, and she again incurred Internet wrath (her Instagram announcement has since been deleted).
The Kardashians-Jenners are no strangers to advertising-related controversy, but historically Kendall has always stayed out of the fray. Kim Kardashian was the face of the Skechers’s deceptive Tone Up shoes, a campaign that ended in a $40 million settlement on the brand’s part. Kylie Jenner’s lip kits sell extremely well, but the product’s detractors call her surgically enhanced lips false advertising and claim that they’re expensive versions of products made in the same facilities.
Kendall, meanwhile, is the serious one, the noncontroversial one, or as she told Harper’s Bazaar in its May issue, “I’ve always been the different one.” Sure, Kendall promotes stuff—they all promote stuff—but you were far less likely to see her advertising waist trainers, vitamin gummies, “FitTea,” or any other permutations of the Instagram weight-loss tea scams.
Usually, she’s discerning—the capital M model—with contracts at Estée Lauder, Calvin Klein, Coach, Daniel Wellington watches, and La Perla lingerie, alongside the jet ads and the Airbnb ads. There are whole B-plots of Keeping Up with the Kardashians that chronicle her rise to Vogue and her concerted effort to avoid controversy. If the family is a diversified business, which it is, the eldest Jenner sister is its high-end product pusher.
Kardashian-Jenner may be another way to spell controversy, but with each new setback they always bounce back. They still close deals. The show goes on (and on). And anyway, the house that Kris Jenner built needs a lightning rod to survive. Whether it strikes Kim or Kylie's or Khloé's or Kendall’s poorly thought out adventures in marketing, the rod only makes them stronger. Without something to grab attention the whole house would burn down.
This story originally appeared on Vanity Fair.
More from Vanity Fair: